This recipe has a real Spanish flavour and is very easy to prepare. This way of cooking fish retains the goodness and keeps the fish moist. Fish has become expensive, but sea bass has remained good value, as it is nearly all farmed these days. Line-caught sea bass is now a very rare and highly-prized fish.

Ingredients

  • 4 x 150g (5oz) sea bass fillets, pin bones removed and scaled
  • 1 tblsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp softened butter

For the Chorizo Cassoulet:

  • 1 tblsp rapeseed oil
  • 100g (4oz) raw chorizo, skinned and diced
  • 150ml (¼ pint) vegetable stock
  • 400g (14oz) can mixed beans, drained and rinsed (such as haricot, cannellini, borlotti and black-eyed beans)
  • 1 tblsp softened butter
  • 2 tsp roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp snipped fresh chives
  • Baby salad leaves, to garnish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the rapeseed oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until sizzling. Remove the chorizo and drain on kitchen paper.
  3. To prepare the sea bass, score the skin in thin parallel lines using a very sharp knife and season the flesh side lightly, then cut each fillet in half on the diagonal.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil and butter.
  5. Once the butter stops sizzling, add the sea bass, skin side down, and cook gently for 4-5 minutes to get the skin crispy, then carefully turn over and cook for 2-3 minutes to brown lightly. Sea bass is best served slightly pink and still quite moist.
  6. Meanwhile, pour the stock into a pan and add the cooked chorizo and the mixed beans. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes, until warmed through. Season to taste, then whisk in the butter and stir in the parsley and chives.
  7. Spoon some chorizo cassoulet in the centre of each warmed plate and arrange the sea bass alongside, skin side up. Garnish with baby salad leaves and serve.